Consumer behavior around the world is changing. While cheap and disposable items still sell, more and more people are making the conscious decision to buy from businesses that claim to be ethical.
Ethical is not just a new buzzword among marketers. It is a movement among consumers who want to make sure that the products that they buy are sourced in ways that are not harmful to the environment nor to society.
Partner with Good Companies
You cannot claim that your business is ethical if your partners — from manufacturers to the delivery service — do not adhere to the same ideals. Before you sign a contract, give yourself time to do a background check, make sure that your supply and your products are not, in any way, connected to unfair labor practices.
For example, if you run a coffee shop, you should source fair-trade coffee beans so you and your customers can feel assured that the farmers who picked the products were properly compensated for their work. If your business involves clothes, you should stay away from factories located in Asia because, although the materials and labor are cheap, they have been notorious for overworking workers under unsafe conditions and with little pay.
Your products may end up becoming more expensive than your competitors’, but many customers are willing to pay a higher price for products that have been sourced and manufactured ethically.
Labeling your products as “ethical” will not be enough to make people believe your claims. Transparency is essential to establish a trusting relationship between you and your customers.
Where your products come from and who made them should be made clear on the business’ websites. Your consumers would not consume blindly; many of them will do their research to make sure that your products were sourced and made ethically.
Sharing information about how your business is conducted and your efforts to make a positive social change. Your values should be reflected in how you run your business.
Give Back to the Community
Here is one way to convince your consumers that your business is not a money-hungry evil corporation: give back to your community. You can donate money or supplies to a local charity, volunteer your services and staff to non-profit organizations, host fundraising campaigns for social causes that you believe in, etc.
By giving back to the community, you recognize that it is not solely through your hard work that your business has found success. A socially-responsible business cares about people more than just money.
All businesses need to collect and listen to customer feedback to be able to provide better services to the public. Take special notice of those who complain or point out problems with your business’ ethics. You need to take these critiques to heart and make changes.
Neither you nor your business is perfect. Do not feel offended but, instead, apologize for the mistakes and promise to improve your operations. This is how you can continue to be an ethical business.
It might be more challenging and more expensive to run an ethical business, but do not be discouraged. Never compromise your values, especially not for money. Your choices and sacrifices will hopefully lead to positive changes to your community and the business landscape.